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Monday, February 15, 2010

Great Backyard Bird Count - Days 3 and 4

The second half of the Great Backyard Bird Count yielded much better results. For starter's, here's what I saw:

American crow - 3
Black-capped chickadee - 3
Red-breasted nuthatch - 2
Spotted towhee - 1
Brown creeper - 1
House finch - 2
Song sparrow - 1
Western screech-owl - 1

American crow - 5
Black-capped chickadee - 7
Red-breasted nuthatch - 3
Brown creeper - 1
House finch - 2
Song sparrow - 1
American robin - 2
Steller's jay - 3
Varied thrush - 3
Northern flicker - 3

The single dark-eyed junco that came through the yard this morning - odd to see it by itself!

Thirteen species were seen and heard in the yard this weekend - not too bad! I definitely saw more activity by going out early this morning as opposed to counting in the afternoon.

The Great Backyard Bird Count helps give scientists a snap-shot of bird activity across the continent, but I can only imagine the monumental task of trying to pull meaningful trends out of the masses of data that are admittedly somewhat prone to error when including information from all levels of birders putting in varying levels of effort. For instance, I saw that there are eight different reports of blue jays , an eastern species, in Oregon; these are almost certainly actually sightings of Steller's jays, which are in fact blue in color so often get referred to by novices as blue jays. While I imagine pulling population trend data must be near-impossible, some of the other questions they are asking include the timing of migration movements, the status of irruptive species in a given year, and the differences in bird diversity in urban, suburban, rural, and natural areas.

All this backyard bird-watching also got me thinking about changing trends in my own back yard. There are several species that I used to see fairly regularly growing up here, but not anymore. Some examples are the pileated woodpecker, downy woodpecker, and band-tailed pigeon. Sadly, they have most likely been pushed out of this region as the surrounding city has developed further of the last two decades. Still, it's cool that I can be right in the middle of a metropolitan area and see more than a dozen species in the yard over the course of a winter weekend.


Warren Baker said...

Well done Monika. You're a citizen scientist! I'm stuck indoors today watching my backyard birds, the weather is appalling!

CE Webster said...

Good bird count day! Congratulations! I found that earlier was better for me, too!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Nice one Monika, I usually find that the first coupla hours after dawn are the best at the feeders, certainly tails off getting towards lunchtime and beyond.
Saw a DC Corm on the west coast of Ireland once - the longest twitch I ever did!